Fix My Windbreaker

You all know my gripes about Eileen Fisher and J. Crew clothing and how difficult/impossible it can be to alter/redesign them to suit the customer. Well, we have yet another poor victim of owner confidence/owner abuse.

The client was trying to save money when she started hacking into her windbreaker jacket thinking that all it needed was some tweaking by moving the sleeves in about an inch. To narrow shoulders in a lined jacket is something best left to those who have done it more than once but this woman thought she was up to the challenge.

To start with she did not have a seam ripper so she just cut about 1/4 inch away from the actual seam line and left things dangling. Once inside she realized she was in too deep and called me. Thankfully she only tackled/mangled one sleeve!


There was a huge gap at the top of the sleeve so I added rayon hem tape to fill in the gap so it could be stitched back into place:

fill-in-sleeve-headfill-inrestored-sleeve-cap Using a triple zigzag stitch helped make it sturdy without adding bulk that a satin stitch would do.

Now once restored it can be stitched back unto the body of the jacket, but wait…check out the seam allowances!seam-allowance

Yes, the sleeve has a  1/8 inch allowance.stitching-sleeve-to-jacket

And the bodice is 3/8 inch…why? Well after all this is stitched it has to be flipped and topstiched unto the bodice. You can see in the photo that the bodice is backed with fleece. All this is also lined so when I take in under the arms, it will all be hidden. So to compromise from taking in the shoulder width, which did not need to be done and the client mentioning those 3 little words I just dread, “Make it tight”, I pinned out an inch in total under each arm for about 3 inches along the sleeves and bodice. I warned her that reducing the armhole that much would not accommodate anything much thicker than her ultra-light thin turtleneck but she was adamant…tight armholes or nothing!right-sleeveright-sleeve-lining-with-fltighter-sleeves

Are you curious as to what this jacket looked like? OK….full-frontAll this fuss and bother and restoration for a loose cut, no shape, raincoat. The client did admit that she was part of the Eileen Fisher Gang…what I have now dubbed the EFG. This group of women who proudly proclaim they have a closet full of EF no matter how badly they fit. It’s all about the label.

It reminds me of being back in the 80’s when the Dooney Bourke bags were popular/expensive and women would tell me that just carrying one into a restaurant would get the hostess to put you at a very special table and get better service. They would swear to me that once recognized, the hostess would give a nod to the customer to let her know she knew quality bags. Now you can find all sorts of used DB bags on Craigslist or even at the Salvation Army.

Before I get back to the sewing I want to share some bounty from the garden:131019-Butternut A pretty good haul seeing as we have already had 6 for dinner and to share with neighbors and family. To save space I grow them up in tomato cages but this year they went nuts and grew taller and taller and out of their cages, up and down into the next cage and then ran across the back of the veggie patch but the cool thing is…you don’t have to do anything but wait until the stem is brown and they twist off.


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33 Responses to Fix My Windbreaker

  1. Sewbussted says:

    I have experienced the EFG 😉
    Your squash are beautiful. I’m envious:)

    • mrsmole says:

      I suspect they have secret closet parties where they celebrate new arrivals of EF and marvel at the unique expensive bagginess.

  2. You always get all the good stuff, hee-hee!

  3. EFG, eh! 🙂

    Love the bounty from your garden… how do you grow them in tomato cages? I’m curious because I have a small backyard and would love to give it a try next yr.

    Btw, Mrs.Mole, you were curious about my Elna. I’d post soon about it but here’s a quick recap – There was nothing wrong with it. I had oiled it in one wrong place and over-oiled where-ever needed. The latter worked in my favor and the former was fixed easily – the friend who helped me figured that out and wiped the extra oil from inside and put it all back together. And now it works very well. Perfect straight stitch!!. 🙂 I’m thrilled.. I still have some small sound when we use the machine but apparently that’s normal. I’ll post pictures of the nice stitch when I get a chance.

  4. mrsmole says:

    This year I planted 2 plants in April and one plant is June. The April ones had tomato cages placed on top of them and as they grew I wove the vines through the openings. In past years they have only reached the top of the 4 foot cage…this year they must have been over 30 feet long. The one I planted later in June barely made it up the cage and still has a few squash waiting for the first frost which could be soon. So glad your Elna is working well…all machines have weird sounds…it is their charm and we know something is wrong when the sound changes…like children or husbands.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I do not “get” the Eileen Fisher obsession. At all.

  6. EF obsession – count me as another one who doesn’t get it. I don’t like shapeless clothes in any form. What a lot of effort, you are a miracle worker.

  7. Shams says:

    Another brilliant save, Mrs Mole! I agree, clothing should be selected on how it works, regardless of label.

  8. Meredith P says:

    I’m going to have to go look up EF. I’m not fashionable at all. But why would you hack up a perfectly good, apparently prestigious jacket? And can she move her arms? I love reading your blog, usually with my mouth open, because I can’t believe what people want you to do, and the time frame they want to do it in.

  9. Tia Dia says:

    Wow. I had to google EF. Everything is sloppy and doesn’t fit the models on the website, but isn’t sloppy and ill-fitting de rigeur these days in fashion? I mean, if it’s OK to wear pj’s to college classes, who the heck’s going to figure out ill-fitting clothes are not appropriate in every other social situation? eeeek.

    • mrsmole says:

      Have you seen what is acceptable in restaurants? We see pyjamas AND fuzzy slippers…what was the hurry? No time to shower or brush your teeth? And the pyjamas continue to be worn throughout the day and the night as well…why? Answer is always…”they are so comfortable”.

      • symondezyn says:

        I’m with Tia – I had to look it up… but here I see people who appear to have forgotten to wear pants, so I suppose anything goes 😛

      • mrsmole says:

        No pants? Holy Moley!

      • symondezyn says:

        I’m not even kidding… when skirts recently got so short again that a mild breeze or a dropped pen was equivalent to indecent exposure, I wasn’t a participant, but now it’s gotten past that point, if you can believe it… case in point: I saw a girl yesterday wearing a hip length sweater, nylons… and NOTHING ELSE. Call me old fashioned, but a pair of leggings even would have been an improvement LOL

  10. sewruth says:

    I can just picture the ripping out scene – kitchen scissors at the ready – aye, that’ll do! You know too much! LOL.

    • mrsmole says:

      Probably many use a craft knife from their husband’s tool box…there seems to be no end to this DIY sewing technique.

  11. Marsha says:

    I’ve seen some of the EFG in action. I think they have some fantasy that Eileen’s brand will somehow magically transform their sturdy middle-aged bodies into young willowy models. I’m not under that delusion, since I know that my own plumpish 50-ish body looks much better in well-fitted clothes. So for me, it’s the best the thrift store coupled with my modest sewing skills can offer.

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Marsha, you got that right…making middle aged women into willowy young things. The same goes for the J. Crew catalogs….my, they are enticing….but I tell my clients that “you are not their models” and I am sure they pin out the back of the clothes for the photo shoots. EF clothes say “MNO” (money’s no object) and fitting be damned.

  12. Elle C says:

    I am so glad I am not the only one who doesn’t get the Eileen Fisher thing. On the other hand, seeing clothes in person can make a difference, and no shop that I know of (locally) sells Eileen Fisher. Are the fabrics especially nice?

  13. mrsmole says:

    Most are loose woven and drapey as in “one size fits all”. I’ll bet you can find them at upscale boutiques in BC where they charge high end prices for that label. The weird thing is, if you were wearing one of hers you would have to be with people who knew her styles or they would think you just had bad fitting taste or inherited something from your granny.

  14. Andrea says:

    I’m wondering if she can move her arms? I’m impressed with your squash!

    • mrsmole says:

      Well Andrea and Meredith, I don’t know if she can move her arms as she had someone else pick up her finished garments as many of these busy ladies do. At this point, she has been warned….ha ha.

  15. I like the squash better than the jacket. And particularly a jacket that someone has already chewed. I hate it when that happens.

  16. mrsmole says:

    Chewed….a great word for what had happened to that jacket!

  17. Mitch says:

    Tight armholes? It won’t make her arms look any thinner – she’ll just look strangely proportioned. I bet she ends up at the doctor’s office with an inexplicable armpit rash – caused by overly tight armholes.

    • mrsmole says:

      Well Mitch you have a good point! If she thinks people are admiring her narrow armpits…well then that is all that matters isn’t it? Who knows…I just do what I am told and then get to share these stories with all of you for a laugh. Beware the rash!

  18. Carolyn says:

    Okay I must be the only one that understands the EF syndrome and why middle-aged plump women who don’t sew love the line. One it is a fashionable, “label” garment that can be purchased in almost every major RTW store. Two, it covers all the lumps and bumps and when you add accessories, it dresses up well. Three, it allows the wearer to believe that they look up-to-date and stylish. If you are dealing with a series of life changes – aging, weight gain, menopause, believe me EF looks good! That said, I understand how we as sewists don’t get it but how many of our neighbor hoods have a wonderful Mrs. Mole who can make, repair or alter garments that we would trust?

  19. mrsmole says:

    Oh dear, Oh dear…Carolyn…you crack me up! I do believe that women who buy and wear EF believe they are up to date and stylish otherwise why would those clothes be such a hit. My gripe is always crappy fit and the unusual way her clothes are sewn that don’t always makes sense for those of us down the line who “get to alter” them…ha ha. Maybe having soft drapey clothes allows women to buy a smaller size and that makes them feel better too. If I ever buy RTW I cut the labels out anyway since they rub and remind me of the size. Thanks for dropping by! Your stash is to die for!

  20. prttynpnk says:

    How did she focus on the sleeves as the fit issue? It looks a bit like those funnel bags you store trash bags in…..but maybe I just have trouble focusing on solid colors!

  21. mrsmole says:

    Not even a cheetah collar could liven up this puppy, Anne! The armholes are the only place that fit her body so maybe she needed to really feel them tight?

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